Best Hakone Ryokan with Private Onsen – Your Own Hakone Hot Springs

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Looking for the best Ryokan Hakone can offer? Interested in trying hot springs in Japan but want a little privacy? Let us point you to some of the best ryokan in Hakone with private onsen. For many people traveling in Japan, finding where to stay in Hakone means finding a hot spring with private tubs. Below we’ll tell you about why you should try the Hakone hot springs and how to enjoy them. Then we’ll tell you where to stay in Hakone where you can have your own Japanese onsen experience.  

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Best Ryokan in Hakone with Private Onsen

There are lots of different types of accommodation in Japan. There are Japanese hotels, of course. Then there are apartment rentals in Japan, as well. Then there are the ryokan, the traditional form of Japanese accommodation. Read on to learn more about ryokan and find out where to stay in Hakone, one of Japan’s most famous hot spring holiday spots. 

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What’s a Ryokan?

One of the most popular places to stay in Japan is the ryokan (旅館), which is a traditional Japanese inn. Ryokan in Japan are quite different than Japanese hotels in several significant ways. For example, you take your shoes off before entering a ryokan, and you usually sleep Japanese style: on futons placed upon tatami mats. Most of the top ryokan also have an onsen (温泉), which are the Japanese hot springs you hear so much about. 

Why Stay in a Ryokan? 

For many people traveling in Japan, staying in a ryokan is one of their most memorable and authentically Japanese experiences in the country. You wear a yukata (casual Japanese kimono), and you stay in a traditional Japanese room. You quite literally eat, sleep, and bathe the old-school Japanese way.

Why Hakone Onsen?

Hakone onsen are some of the most famous and storied onsen in Japan. In fact, people have been coming to bathe in Hakone hot springs for hundreds and hundreds of years. There are many types of Hakone hot spring water, as well: from milky white to pale green. Each type of Hakone hot springs has different chemical components that supposedly help with various ailments. For example, the yellow-tinted Hakone hot springs contain sodium chloride. Some people believe that these waters help ease muscle aches and give you smoother skin and hair, among other health benefits. Another type of Hakone hot springs has water that has a slight greenish tint and has sodium sulfate. This water supposedly helps with digestion problems and high blood pressure. You don’t have to believe in the health benefits of these Hakone onsen to enjoy a relaxing soak in them. 

Why a Ryokan with Private Onsen in Hakone?

For many of you, the idea of sitting in a Hakone onsen sounds appealing, but there are a few obstacles in your way. Here are a few reasons to choose a ryokan in Hakone with private onsen.

Can you be naked in public?

For one, you might be shy or otherwise be wary of public bathing. Most Hakone onsen are large tubs and you sit in them with other guests. Personally, I love the atmosphere, but I understand how awkward it can be for some people. It was for me as well when I first visited.

Want to bathe with the opposite gender?

Secondly, most onsen and ryokan in Japan divide their tubs by gender. In other words, males and females are separated, and only small kids from the other gender can go to either side with a parent or guardian. Perhaps you would like to bathe with your spouse or with your kids. Or perhaps you and a boyfriend/girlfriend would like to have a tub to yourselves. In that case, you’d need a ryokan with private onsen tubs.

Do you have tattoos?

Lastly, there is the issue of tattoos. At many Japanese hot springs, people with tattoos are forbidden to bathe with others. That’s because of the traditional stigma of tattoos in Japan and the rest of Asia. To many, they signify organized crime: the mafia, the yakuza, etc. People with tattoos are often banned from Hakone hot springs and many other onsen in Japan. And not just Japanese hot springs. They’re also banned in many gyms, public pools, spas, and other places. Don’t take it personally. Instead, book a private onsen. 

Hakone Ryokan VS Hakone Hotels 

hakone ryokan or hotel in hakone

As much as I love staying at ryokan in Japan, I should also say that they’re not for everyone. Before you book a ryokan or visit a Hakone onsen, understand what to expect. I’ve written a lot about how ryokan work in this post, but here’s a brief test to see if a Hakone ryokan experience is for you.

  • Most bedding options are futons on tatami mats (although some bed options exist)
  • The check-in/dining times are fairly strict (each place has different rules)
  • The buildings are often not very modern (that includes bad wifi)
  • Little English is spoken (but you can use a translator app)
  • And the food is usually very Japanese (expect things you may have never seen before)

If these are an issue for you, then book a hotel. Don’t book a Hakone ryokan and then complain that you have to take your shoes off and you didn’t want fish for dinner. Looking through reviews of some of the best ryokan Hakone have to offer, I’ve seen people gripe about their experience. 

  • “They made us sleep on the floor!”
  • “We were only an hour late and they wouldn’t give us dinner!”
  • “The furniture looked like it was from the 1980s!”
  • “They wouldn’t substitute the crab! I hate seafood!”

I’ve seen complaints like this. These people should have never stayed at a Japanese ryokan. 

Hakone Weather

Hakone is a popular ryokan destination year-round, with four distinct seasons to enjoy. Japanese hot springs feel best in chilly weather, but Hakone in summer is also popular because it’s cooler than Tokyo. Here’s a quick breakdown of weather in Hakone, Kanagawa, Japan.

Hakone Weather in Winter

Visit Hakone in January and you’ll experience the lowest temperatures. Mornings reach freezing, while in the afternoon the mercury rises to around 49ºF/9ºC. Hakone weather in February and March sees average morning temperatures rise to the low 40’s F/4-6ºC. But it can feel colder near the water.

Hakone Weather in Spring

Spring in Hakone is still chilly but glorious, as the cherry blossom trees slowly begin to reach full bloom usually in late March. Visit Hakone in April and you might get to see them at peak bloom, and even attend a hanami or two, perhaps. The hillsides grow ever greener as average temps of Hakone in May see lows around 57ºF/14ºC and highs around 73ºF/23ºC.

Hakone Weather in Summer

Summer in Hakone is hot and muggy like the rest of the Kanto region. Yet the lake and mountains provide relief for those seeking refuge from the oven that is downtown Tokyo in summer. Hakone in June has the most rain on average, as Japan’s typhoon season begins in June and runs through October. That doesn’t mean back-to-back rain all summer. Far from it. But it’s worth keeping an eye on the forecast. Hakone in August is the hottest as temperatures hit 85ºF/30ºC or higher. Off-the-charts humidity makes it feel even hotter.

Hakone Weather in Fall

Fall in Hakone may be my favorite time to visit. The temperature drops and leaves start to turn, transforming the mountainsides into a tableau of red, orange and yellow. There can be typhoons as late as October. These bring heavy rain to Hakone, but it’s mostly beautiful weather and great for hiking. By November, temps average around 50-60ºF/10-15ºC, but it can feel cooler after the sun has set.

Best Ryokan in Hakone with Private Onsen

There are lots of fantastic Hakone onsen ryokan. After all, these are some of the most famous hot springs in Japan! For this post, however, we’re focusing on the ryokan with private onsen in Hakone. Here are our picks. 

Gora Kadan 

Gora Kadan -- hakone ryokan with private onsen

Hakone onsen ryokan don’t get much more luxurious than this. Gora Kadan has generously sized rooms and incredible kaiseki dining and other culinary options. The vegetarian option is just as delicious as the shabu-shabu set. Some rooms have Western bedding but if you’re here for a soak then consider that Gora Kadan is one of the best ryokan with private onsen in Hakone. Both cypress tubs and stone baths are options. The hotel is a short walk from the station but pick up is available. There’s an indoor pool as well — rare even amongst the most luxurious ryokan Hakone can claim.

  • Location/Access: 5 minutes on foot from Gora Station, and a 6-minute walk/1-minute drive to Hakone Open Air Museum
  • Room Details: Sleep 2 to 6 people. Rooms from 20m2 to 46m2.

Book Now: Gora Kadan Ryokan Hakone at Booking.com

Compare Prices: Gora Kadan Ryokan Hakone at HotelsCombined

Read Reviews: Gora Kadan Ryokan Hakone at TripAdvisor

Hakone Kowakien Tenyu

Hakone Kowakien Tenyu - Ryokan with private onsen in hakone

Out of all the best Hakone ryokan has to offer, Hakone Kowakien Tenyu is one of the newest and most luxurious, opening its doors in 2017. Rooms are spacious and mix modern and traditional elements. For example, some rooms are tatami but the futons a slightly raised like a Western bed. This is a ryokan with private onsen tubs in some rooms, and the tubs are made in the Shigaraki pottery village in Shiga Prefecture. The view from the balcony here is something to behold. If you choose the public baths, you’ll get an even better view from the infinity-pool-style onsen. Some accommodation plans at Hakone Kowakien Tenyu include an exquisite kaiseki-style dinner. Breakfast is a generous buffet of Japanese and Western classics.

  • Location/Access: Less then 5-minutes on foot to Hakone onsen park Kowakien Yunessun
  • Room Details: Rooms sleep up to five guests and run 35-70m2

Book Now: Hakone Kowakien Tenyu at Booking.com

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Read Reviews: Hakone Kowakien Tenyu at TripAdvisor

Hakone Ashinoko Hanaori

Hakone Ashinoko Hanaori view - luxury hakone accommodation

When it comes to luxury ryokan, this has one of the best locations in Hakone. From here you’re minutes on foot to the ropeway and lake, where you can jump aboard the famous ships that cruise Lake Ashi. You’ll also find one of the most beautiful tubs on the balcony here overlooking the lake. In addition to some of the prettiest views from a private onsen bath, you also get some Western bedding options as well. The Hakone Ashinoko Hanaori also runs a bus shuttle to and from Odawara station, but you need to reserve it.

  • Location/Access: Right by the lake, the port, and the ropeway.
  • Room Details: Most rooms have Western bedding. Some have private onsen tubs. Sizes range from 23m2 to 47m2.

Book Now: Hakone Ashinoko Hanaori at Booking.com

Compare Prices: Hakone Ashinoko Hanaori at HotelsCombined

Read Reviews: Hakone Ashinoko Hanaori at TripAdvisor

Musashino Bekkan 

Musashino Bekkan ryokan in hakone

If you’re looking for private Hakone hot springs and large rooms, then look no further than Musashino Bekkan. Not all rooms have private onsen tubs, but some rooms can accommodate up to 8 people and average around 60m2, with a suite that’s 173m2. You’re quite far from the station here so make sure to use their free shuttle.

  • Location/Access: 15-20 min walk from the closest station
  • Room Details: Some HUGE rooms and beautiful private tubs.

Book Now: Musashino Bekkan Onsen Ryokan Hakone at Booking.com

Compare Prices: Musashino Bekkan Onsen Ryokan Hakone at HotelsCombined

Read Reviews: Musashino Bekkan Onsen Ryokan Hakone at TripAdvisor

Gyokutei 

Gyokutei - hakone onsen ryokan

Out of the many Hakone onsen ryokan recommended here, this might be the smallest. Gyokutei has only four rooms, but that allows them to look after their guests more attentively. This is a ryokan with private onsen, which can be reserved. The Japanese-style rooms are older but have beautiful garden views. Each room has designated staff to take care of them, explaining the menu (as best they can) and serving dinner in the room as well. Like most Hakone ryokan, their kaiseki menus are seafood-based and delicious. Unlike some Hakone ryokan, there is no veggie option, so a warning to those will seafood/shellfish allergies

  • Location/Access: 10-minute walk/3-min drive from Hakone Yumoto Station.
  • Room Details: Quadruple rooms are 37m2 and Japanese style. No vegetarian options on the menu. All meals have seafood in them.

Book Now: Gyokutei Hakone Onsen Ryokan at Booking.com

Compare Prices: Gyokutei Hakone Onsen Ryokan at HotelsCombined

Read Reviews: Gyokutei Hakone Onsen Ryokan at TripAdvisor

Senkyoro

Senkyoro Ryokan with private onsen in hakone

Another beautiful traditional ryokan in Hakone with private onsen. Family rooms come with their own private tubs, but if you want to rent the smaller rooms there are still private tubs you can rent by the hour. Senkyoro also has electric bike rentals for those that want to explore the area. The bus stop in front of Senkyoro gives you access to Gora, Hakone-Yumoto and Odawara stations.

  • Location/Access: 10-minute walk to Hakone Venetian Glass Museum or the Little Prince Museum. 5-minute drive to Hakone Botanical Garden of Wetlands
  • Room Details: Rooms that sleep four are 40m2. Rooms that sleep five (with private onsen) are 75m2.

Book Now: Senkyoro Onsen Ryokan Hakone at Booking.com

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Ryokan Hakone Suimeisou

Hakone Suimeisou - hakone ryokan with private onsen

Minutes from the station, this is one of the best Hakone ryokan near the train station. If you want to limit your transfers and travel time then Hakone Ryokan Suimesou may be the right call. Leave at the right time (on the Hakone Romance Car or another train), and you’re at the front door from Shinjuku Station in 90 minutes. Private hot springs can be reserved for an additional fee.

  • Location/Access: A few minutes’ walk from Hakone Yumoto Station, and so only 90 minutes from Shinjuku.
  • Room Details: Japanese–style rooms sleep 4 to 7 and run 13m2 to 42m2. Some rooms have two Western-style beds in addition to futons.

Book Now: Ryokan Hakone Suimesou at Booking.com

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Mikawaya Ryokan Hakone

Mikawaya Ryokan - ryokan Hakone ryokan private onsen

This is probably the oldest ryokan in Hakone with private onsen baths. Originally built in 1883, this really is an old-school Hakone ryokan, in every sense of the word. What some will see as vintage others may see as worn down. Also, all rooms allow smoking, but the floor plans have walls that open into gardens. 

  • Location/Access: 5 minutes on foot from Hakone Kowakien Yunessun. 20-minute walk to Hakone Open Air Museum.
  • Room Details: Rooms sleep four and are 17m2 to 30m2. Some Western beds and private onsen rooms available.

Book Now: Mikawaya Ryokan Hakone at Booking.com

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Hakone Kowakien Miyamafurin

Hakone Kowakien Miyamafurin - ryokan Hakone onsen

Not the most luxurious ryokan Hakone has to offer but a good option if you want to be near Hakone Kowakien Yunessun as it’s a short walk away. The rooms and hot spring tubs are pretty good, but without a proper kitchen on site, the included breakfast doesn’t go beyond pastries. For those who don’t get into Japanese breakfast, this is a great option. Yet for people like me who LOVE the typical ryokan breakfast, look elsewhere. Private onsen tubs are by appointment you make at reception.

  • Location/Access: 5-minute walk to Hakone Kowakien Yunessun Onsen Theme Park
  • Room Details: Rooms sleep 3-5 people and rance from 25 to 58m2.

Book Now: Hakone Ryokan Kowakien Miyamafurin at Booking.com

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Hoeiso 

Hoeiso - ryokan hakone onsen

Another lovely Hakone ryokan with private onsen options. Hoeiso is a little worn around the edges but has had some refurbishments to its garden as recent as the spring of 2019. The main public tubs close at 9 pm and are then up for reserve by guests. The rotenburo (outdoor tub) is by the river.

  • Location/Access: 8 minutes by bus from Hakone-Yumoto Station and 30 minutes to the lake.
  • Room Details: Tatami rooms sleep 5 and are 20-30m2. Some rooms have western-style beds.

Book Now: Hoeiso Hakone Ryokan Onsen at Booking.com

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Hakone Onsen Yuyado Yamanoshou

Where to Stay in Hakone - Hakone Onsen Yuyado Yamanoshou

This is a great area to stay if you like glass arts, as the Venetian Glass Museum and the Lalique Museum (also glass) are both within walking distance. Hakone Onsen Yuyado Yamanoshou has Western and Japanese style bedding options. No rooms have a private onsen tub all their own, but you can reserve a private hot spring for you and loved ones to visit on the property. Do this early, as times can fill up fast.

  • Location/Access: Short walk to glass art museums and the Hakone Botanical Garden of Wetlands
  • Room Details: Rooms are 29m2 and sleep two to four people. Japanese and Western-style rooms.

Book Now: Hakone Onsen Yuyado Yamanoshou at Booking.com

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How Ryokan Work

Out of all the Hakone accommodation options available, we think staying at a ryokan with hot springs is the way to go. Hakone onsen are some of the most famous in the country. And the ryokan in Hakone have been providing the Japanese onsen experience just about as long as anyone. Are you new to the ryokan experience? Never stayed at a ryokan hotel in Hakone or anywhere else? If so, here are a few tips on what it’s like and what to expect.

Shoes, slippers & yukata

This should come as no surprise. It’s common knowledge that people take their shoes off in a Japanese home. The same goes for ryokan. Most Japanese ryokan will have a place up front where you’ll take off your shoes. Then you’ll place them into a small wooden locker until you go outside next. Slippers are provided. Your Hakone ryokan should also provide you with a yukata, which is a less formal (and more comfortable) kimono-style robe.

Tattoos = Taboo (Sometimes)

Sorry guys, but many Hakone onsen hotels still don’t allow people with tattoos to enter public baths. And not just ryokan in Hakone. In fact, ryokan hotels all over Japan have similar rules. You can still stay at these ryokan of course, and there are many Hakone ryokan with private onsen tubs. But many of them still will not accept tattoos in public baths. Tattoos have long been associated with organized crime here. It’s changing, but slowly in some places.

Private & Public Baths

There are many ryokan with private onsen in Hakone, but the majority have public baths only. That means that most rooms have a toilet and sink, but no shower or tub. The showers and tubs are elsewhere in the building, where everyone can use them. These baths are almost always divided by gender: males in one, females in another. Kids under 6 can usually go with either parent. If you want to bathe together, then it’s best to stick to the ryokan with private onsen in Hakone. Some ryokan private onsen tubs are in specialized (and higher-priced) rooms. Others are tubs that you can reserve for 30 minutes to an hour for you and your loved ones.

Shower Fully Before Getting into the Onsen

Remember that Hakone hot springs are for soaking and relaxing, not for bathing. Clean yourself fully at the showers before stepping into the tubs. No soap or suds should get into any Hakone hot springs.

Tatami/Futon

Ryokan in Japan usually have traditional tatami (straw mat) floors, and you sleep on futons placed on those floors. In fact, most of the Hakone ryokan mentioned in this post have Japanese-style rooms only. A few have Western bed options.

Set Times for Check-in and Meals

Make sure to know the exact times for check-in, check-out, dinner, and breakfast. These times can be limited and you might not get served if you’re late. Most ryokan in Japan allow you to drop off your luggage early if you like. Some even allow you to go ahead and take a dip in the hot springs before you check in.

Meal Location & Ingredients

What makes ryokan one of my favorite Japan accommodation options are the baths and the meals. Dinner and/or breakfast are often included in the price you pay, and we love the food you get here. Most of the best ryokan Hakone have to offer make incredible food.

Dinner is often served in a common area, but it is just as likely to be served in your room as well. The ryokan menu varies wildly from place to place. However, dinner is usually served kaiseki-style: small, ornate plates served one after the other. These usually involve a lot of seafood, but some places offer vegetarian or even vegan kaiseki. That said, there are just as many that serve one set meal and offer no substitutions. If you have fish or seafood allergies, you should check on this before you book.

Cash or Credit?

Even some of the best Hakone onsen ryokan do not accept credit cards. Again, this is changing but check first to make sure you have enough cash if needed.

Few Elevators

Accessibility is a problem in some Japanese ryokan. They’re often in old — even historical — buildings and only have stairs. Worth checking if you have a stroller, a wheelchair or very heavy luggage.

Age Matters

Some Ryokan in Hakone will consider anyone over six as an adult price. Others may have a lower price for kids 12 and under. If you’re visiting Hakone with kids and traveling in Hakone on a budget, check these on the booking form carefully.

Ryokan in Hakone

Ryokan in Hakone are much like ryokan in Kyoto, Fukuoka, Hakodate and elsewhere. However, here are a few tips regarding Hakone onsen ryokan specifically.

Trains, Buses & Automobiles

Once you get close to Hakone accommodation, train options are few to none. This is the mountainside, after all, so you’ll need to take to the roads. Luckily, the buses in Hakone run often and efficiently. Just keep in mind that most routes stop around 9 pm. Taxis are another option, but possibly the best option is the station pickup by the ryokan itself. Many of the best ryokan from Hakone will offer to pick you up at the station. If interested, check with them early as sometimes you need to reserve and give them a rough time of arrival.

Quiet after Dark

The area is not hopping with nightlife. Most people visit Hakone to relax, soak in the onsen water half a dozen times and go to bed. There aren’t that many convenience stores around either. Most Hakone ryokan and other nice Hakone accommodation will have a restaurant, some vending machines and maybe a bar, but they’ll close. If you think you’ll need something late at night, then pack it with you.

Bad Wifi is Common

Need to work or use the internet a lot during your trip? Then look carefully at the ryokan Hakone have and see which one has the most reliable service. Most Hakone accommodation have some wifi, but it may be weak or only available in the lobby.

How to Get to Hakone

What’s the best way to get to Hakone from Tokyo, Osaka and other famous destinations? The routes below are just suggestions, but it would be best if you check with your accommodation first as it could affect your route. Most of the ryokan around Hakone are spread out, so one bus stop might be better than another. Then there are some of Hakone’s ryokan that will pick you up at specific train stations, so check these factors first.

Tokyo to Hakone / Hakone from Tokyo

The fastest way to get from Tokyo to Hakone is to take the Shinkansen (Kodama or Hikari) to Odawara Station. Both are covered by the JR Rail Pass. From Odawara, you take the bus. Total journey approx. 90 minutes. There are also JR East buses that leave from Tokyo Station (Yaesu South Exit) that takes approx. 2 hours.

Yokohama to Hakone / Hakone to Yokohama

The fastest way from Yokohama to Hakone is via Shinkansen from Shin-Yokohama station to Odawara (20 minutes). Then take a bus (approx. 30min).

Odawara to Hakone/ Hakone to Odawara

From Odawara Station, you can take a Hakone Tozan Bus for approx. 30 minutes. Or you can take the Hakone Tozan Railway to Hakone Tumoto Station and hop on a short bus from there.

Osaka to Hakone / Hakone to Osaka

Train journeys from Osaka to Hakone can take approx. 3.5-4 hours is you take the shinkansen between Shin-Osaka station and Odawara. Then follow the instructions for getting from Odawara to Hakone. There are also night buses from Osaka station to Mishima Eki (8.5 hours). Then another hour-long journey from Mishima Station to Motohakone-ko station.

Kyoto to Hakone / Hakone to Kyoto

The fastest way from Kyoto to Hakone is by taking the Shinkansen to Odawara (approx. 3 hours) and grabbing a bus from there (20-30 minutes). There are night buses from Kyoto to Hakone as well, taking from 6 to 8 hours.

Nara to Hakone / Hakone to Nara

There are multiple ways to get between Hakone and Nara, but I think it’s best to just go through Kyoto (see above).

Hiroshima to Hakone / Hakone to Hiroshima

The fastest ways to get from Hiroshima to Hakone (or vice versa) are via bullet train. Take the Shinkansen Nozomi or the Shinkansen Hikari via Nagoya or Shin-Yokohama to/from Odawara Station. Then follow the instructions above for Odawara.

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means, at no extra cost to you, we might receive a small commission if you make a purchase or book a Hakone onsen ryokan. My opinions are my own and I only recommend places/services that I believe will genuinely help you find the best Hakone hot springs and other Hakone accommodation.

Photo Credits via Creative Commons CC-BY or Royalty-Free Image sites: #1, #2, #3 #4-#16, #17, #18

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